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Derrick Bickley

Derrick Bickley


Author biography

I was born and raised in Birmingham, England, where I was educated at King Edward's Grammar School, Aston. I am married, with two grown-up daughters. A keen photographer, having had photographs published, I enjoy also cinema and theatre. A great follower of football or soccer as some call it, I am a long-time supporter of Birmingham-based professional club, Aston Villa, still regularly attending matches at their Villa Park home ground. Railways and especially the old steam locomotives are also a great interest, fortunately living in a country where this is a popular interest, so boasting a large number of heritage railways, one of the main ones not too far from where I live.

Although having spent most of my working life in financial environments, words, not figures, have always been my first love. I did spend some years as a freelance journalist, when I was local correspondent for a number of national trade magazines and worked some newspaper assignments. I have also worked in Press and Public Relations with a Birmingham-based advertising and public relations agency. My Penguin Books prize winning short story 'The Prisoner' was a prize winner in a competition organised jointly by Penguin Books and a local commercial radio station. I was interviewed on air and the story was broadcast, read by a leading actor from a popular daily national radio serial. Set in the early period of World War Two, the story revolved around a member of the Hitler Youth charged with returning an escaped prisoner from the occupied Channel Islands to the European mainland. It was also subsequently accepted for publication in 1992 in a short story book compilation 'Shorts from the Midlands.' More recently I made this story available free to read on the ‘Authors Den’ website, attracting more than 1,700 reads and favourable comments. Also, on this site is ‘The Reluctant Father Christmas,’ a Christmas short story I placed free to read two years ago, which has now clocked up more than 7,000 reads. Other short stories have won prizes in minor competitions over the years and I have a number of short stories yet unpublished.

My crime thriller novel 'The Hit-and-Run Man,' published in 1991, may have been instrumental in stopping the U.K. cinema release of a Johnny Depp movie. The book hit the U.K. headlines in 1996, when, after reading Press previews of 'Nick of Time,' I raised concerns about notable similarities between the plotlines of the movie and the book. Although not published in America, I was able to place the book as having been presented there, including a link with an agency claiming Hollywood connections. Not surprisingly, United International Pictures denied any knowledge of the book, but, despite favourable preview reviews, the movie was pulled from its U.K. cinema release and sent straight to video. In 2008 'The Hit-and-Run Man,' was a featured novel in the Four Counties Noir Festival - "A Festival of Crime Fiction from the Dark Heart of England" - at the Light House Media Centre, Wolverhampton, England and was selected for a reading.

The introduction of an IRA element into the novel is probably not a surprise as most of my life has been lived under a terrorist threat of some description and on two occasions has struck close to home. Although living a few miles outside Birmingham city centre I heard in the distance the explosions when in November 1974 IRA bombs exploded in two city centre public houses, killing 21 and injuring 182.

The second occasion was a more direct impact as I could have lost a close family member. In an incredible and almost fatal case of wrong time, wrong place, my brother, some three hundred miles from his home, was driving through Lockerbie when the bomb-shattered plane hit the ground. In the dark, he was aware of nothing until a huge explosion erupted ahead of him. His first instinct was that a petrol tanker had exploded and, indeed, it was probably escaping fuel that sent a fireball racing down the road towards the van he was driving. Rescue workers who found him wandering around dazed and in a severe state of shock were unsure who he was and even wondered at first if he was a plane survivor. Fortunately he must have reacted fast enough to avoid serious physical injury, though sustaining some burns to his face and scalp.

As an indie author I published a revised edition of the 'Hit-and-Run Man,' with additional material, as an e-book from Amazon Kindle in 2013.

Bibliography

The Hit-and-Run Man

Angela B. Chrysler

Angela B. Chrysler

Jennifer Ealey

Jennifer Ealey